It’s a simple combination; roaring engines, supercars, some ‘everything hangs on this’ races with a pinch of personal drama and rivalry thrown in for good measure.
But, it’s a winning combination too – you only have to look at the success of the Fast And Furious franchise and films like Rush and Death Race for proof of that.
The latest actor to get behind the wheel for a movie is Aaron Paul, who swaps drugs for the driving seat in Need For Speed, the big screen adaptation of the hit racing video game.
“Oh my God, it’s embarrassing how much fun we were having,” he says of shooting the movie. “We shot in seven different States across the US and we were driving around in these insane cars, incredible racing and races.
“It was a dream come true,” he adds. “We were just big kids playing with big toys. It was so much fun.”
Until a few years ago, the 34-year-old was practically unheard of, on this side of the Atlantic, at least.
But thanks to his star turn as crystal meth dealer Jesse Pinkman in the mega-successful TV series Breaking Bad, Paul – who’s wearing a black leather jacket, black jeans and T-shirt – is now a familiar face. In real life, he is open and friendly with striking blue eyes and perfect white teeth.
Much like the game, the movie is packed with fast cars (American muscle machines and European hyper-cars), high-octane thrills and death-defying stunts that will leave jaws dropping.
The original story follows mechanic and street racer Tobey Marshall (Paul) who, fresh out of prison after being framed, is intent on settling the score with his powerful nemesis Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) in a high-stakes underground race, the De Leon.
Director Scott Waugh, a former stuntman, wanted to make the film without using computer-generated imagery (CGI) or green screen, preferring the actors to either do the majority of the stunts themselves or employ stunt doubles.
Paul relished doing his own tricks, which included 180-degree slides, racing up to speeds of 140mph and drifting around roads in a Koenigsegg Agera R and a customised Shelby Mustang.
“Let’s be honest, I didn’t do any of the crazy, crazy stuff,” he admits. “When you see a car jump over four lanes of traffic or driving off a cliff and being caught by a helicopter, that was not me, for obvious reasons. But a lot of the sliding, drifting into alleyways and driving backwards, that was me. There was no hesitation whatsoever, that was just fun.”
* Need For Speed opens in cinemas on Wednesday, March 12.